A box room is one that is smaller than you'd want to spend any length of time in, but big enough that it is possible to and not be at serious risk of starting to eat your knees. It is smaller than all the other rooms, but bigger than a cupboard. They are also distinguishable from cupboards in that they have a radiator and/or a window. If your guest bedroom has no window or a radiator, the reason no-one ever comes back is because you have been putting them in a cupboard when they visited.
I feel sorry for box rooms because people are invariably disappointed with them. Estate agents market them as bedrooms, and so prospective buyers, excited about the three-bed property at a surprisingly low price, open its door and immediately drop their brows and say, 'Oh. It's a box room. That's a shame,' and murmur consolatory ideas about storing their hardly-ever-used gym equipment and filing cabinets in it.
My bedroom at university was the box room. I ended up loving it - the door couldn't open completely because of the bed, and I had to keep most of my clothes in the study across the landing, but it heated up in no time, and it was so homely with my bunting strung across the ceiling and fairy lights wrapped around the bed frame. Yes, as soon as someone poked their head round the door to speak to me it felt crowded, and yes sometimes it felt frustrating to shuffle between the bed and everything else at once, but I think there was something remedial about its pared-down-ness. It was just a space to sleep in, and maybe read a book. You couldn't be distracted by anything, you couldn't be reminded of any jobs you had to do. It couldn't be messy or you couldn't get out again until you tidied up.
I think box rooms just need to be given more dignity. Estate agents calling them bedrooms means people will be hoping for this:
...even though they know the dimensions are 6'x7'.
They should be called something that whispers of their potential: 'Interest Room,' or 'Creative Space Room.' You could give it a theme that you'd never take the risk of dressing the bigger rooms in your house in - a little six foot by six foot bonkers room. You could make it into a jungle, or a mad, tasteless leopard-print boudoir with a disco ball that you've secretly always wanted but know it's terribly naff.
Yes, you could still keep your gym equipment in it...
Today is World Thinking Day, and this year's thought theme is reducing child mortality, as well as box rooms. It is one of the World Health Organisation's and UNICEF's targets: to reduce child mortality by two thirds from 1990 to 2015. They've seen that schemes such as those in developing countries that provide vitamin A supplementation, oral rehydration therapy and vaccinations can save millions of children's lives a year.